ANDY Dempsey 

Andy Dempsey

Andy is an award-winning songwriter and accomplished multi-instrumentalist and singer, with years of experience in the choral, classical and pop worlds of music. He first began singing as a chorister at St Bartholomew’s Church in Dublin at age six, where he rose to become Head Chorister and performed and toured internationally with the choir. Before graduating with an Honours Degree in Musical Composition and Vocal Performance from Maynooth University, he achieved nationwide success with his band Shadowplay, winning Hot Press Magazine’s Lift Off award and recording tracks with Rolling Stones producer Chris Kimsey, Hozier producer Rob Kirwan, and Dave Odlum, formerly of The Frames.

I was incredibly lucky to have been brought up with a rich tapestry of music all around me from as early as I can remember. The youngest of four in a house full of singing, or humming a harmony to the radio, or whistling down the hall or instrument playing, and a father who always emphasised exposing us to music of only the best quality no matter the style, be it Bach or The Beatles, my brain seemed to soak up tunes, chords, and musical idioms like a sponge. By age four I was playing the fiddle and piano, and age 6 saw me getting my first proper singing experience at St Bartholomew’s Choir in Dublin.

I was immediately at home, and as such singing has never been anything other than a completely natural and unquestioned part of my life. As well as that, I’ve been very lucky over the past number of years to build up quite a varied musical career, where every week or month or every new concert or event can bring a fresh experience. 

But what Anúna has helped me come to terms with is my journey and purpose as a musician. I’ve come to understand that what I experienced growing up, simply soaking up and being immersed in beautiful music, before I knew anything about concepts like style or started putting things in boxes like ‘Classical’ or ‘Pop’, that was the truth that I knew all along. Music is one pure message of expression, and singing is this expression in it’s most natural form. 

Anúna’s technique and philosophy reflects this. From hearing my first Anúna piece at age 16, Michael’s ‘Pie Jesu’, and being dumbfounded by it’s sheer beauty, to now being part of the ensemble, I understand that the training that I’ve undergone throughout the years and everything that I’ve learned about music has been incredibly important and has brought me to this point. But underneath it all there was a oneness with music that I’ve gotten back in touch with, and I try to access that every time I sing or play not only with the group, but in all my musical endeavours - just breathe, get out of the way, and let the music speak.